I did see the latest Baypalooza, notable only for being somewhat more visually coherent than the last two robots-bashing-robots films. Alas, that’s still only about 3 or 4% overall coherence. It was reasonably entertaining; the 7-year-old with me was itchy for much of the first half and then rapt for the last. This 43-year-old went away wishing he’d cared more.
But tonight I watched Seung-wan Ryoo’s 2010 pitch-black noir The Unjust, a film that’ll eventually show up on Netflix, but probably won’t make it to any theaters near any of us, except maybe Mauer. It’s scripted by Hoon-jung Park, who wrote I Saw the Devil, and if I say this latest film is a wee bit less nihilistic, that’s like saying Steve Jobs has less money then Bill Gates. One of the dark pleasures of this latest is the almost gleeful skipping down a steep slope of people behaving unethically. It starts with a montage of people in public settings watching various newscasters recount the great social anxiety around a series of rape-killings of young children, and then cuts into surveillance footage of a footchase between two police and a suspect. Ryoo zooms in and the film kicks into high gear.
But the serial killer’s a mcguffin, and much of the action is psychological — two protagonists (well….)–a lead detective (the stoic, ever-more-tightly-wound Jeong-min Hwang) and a public prosecutor (the frequently unwound Seung-beom Ryu) are charged with resolving the kid case, while also tussling over dueling dirty developers. The film plays out like Sidney Lumet via Takashi Miike, with a lot of high-wire editing which keeps your pulse high. But what really sold me were the performances — always two or three steps over the top, but carefully modulated; it’s a wicked, entertaining thriller, as good as I’ve seen this year.